Blog Post #3: Is Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” for Real?  

As we have learned in class, transparency is defined as “behavior as conduct that presumes openness in communication and serves a reasonable expectation of forthright exchange when parties have a legitimate stake in the possible outcomes of effects of the sending or receiving of the message. It is an attitude of proactive moral engagement that manifests an express concern for the persons-as-ends principle when a degree of deception or omission can reasonably be said to risk thwarting the receiver’s due dignity or the ability to exercise reason” (Plaisance, 2014), or in simpler terms, to be transparent you are open and bearing no secrets.

Dove is known to be one of the most favored and cherished brands there is, for they speak perfectly to each and every one of their target markets. In the past decade, their Campaign for Real Beauty movement has gone viral numerous times on several different social networking sites. Their commercials, advertisements, and promotional speaking all are known to cheer women up about their bodies, saying that all women are beautiful—no matter their shape, size, race, age, etc. They have also been highly praised in not Photoshopping their ads or their models as compared to other companies and brands that are claimed to do so.

Personally, I have always liked Dove’s outlook and Real Beauty campaign only because it’s something different and refreshing from typical beauty products’ messages. After reading the case in point in our textbook about the Campaign for Real Beauty not being real, it’s unclear what Dove was trying to do in their advertising efforts. When questioned, they denied the fact that the pictures were altered sticking to their duty of, “Dove’s mission is to make more women feel beautiful every day by widening the definition of beauty and inspiring them to take great care of themselves. Dove strives to portray women by accurately depicting their shape, size, skin color and age…’let’s be perfectly clear — Pascal does all kinds of work – but he is primarily a printer – and only does retouching when asked to. The idea for Dove was very clear at the beginning. There was to be NO retouching and there was not,” confirmed Annie Leibovitz, commenting on the ProAge campaign” (Bercovici, 2008).

It’s unclear what the true story is behind the controversy, but I have to say if Dove really did alter their photos, I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world. Yes, they preach the idea of real beauty and how women’s views of beauty are all distorted and meanwhile they are seen to be distorting their women too. I think what’s worse in this case is Dove lying about it if it’s true. If they did alter their photos, all they have to do is own up to it, and not be seen fraudulent in the topic of transparency.

References

Bercovici, J. (2008). Dove: we didn’t airbrush our lumpy ladies. UpStart Business            Journal. Retrieved from             http://upstart.bizjournals.com/companies/media/2008/05/09/dove-we-didnt-           airbrush-our-lumpy-ladies.html?page=all

Plaisance, P. (2009). Media ethics: Key principles for responsible practice (pp. 84-86). Los Angeles: SAGE.

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Blog Post #2-All the President’s Men

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Coblenz, W. (Producer), & Pakula, A. J. (Director). (April 9, 1976). All the President’s Men [Motion Picture]. United States: Warner Bros.

All the President’s Men is a drama/mystery film that’s based on the true story of The Watergate Scandal, the 1970s break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters of the Watergate complex in Washington, DC that President Nixon and his administration attempted to cover up. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman play Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who set out to expose the truth behind the incident and Nixon’s resignation as President.

The topic of ethics is present throughout the whole film, for the two main characters are journalists who, unknowingly at the time, live by the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. Although the SPJ Code of Ethics wasn’t established at the time of the incident or when the film was made, the four basic principles of it are still present throughout the movie.

The two most significant philosophies of the code of ethics that were seen in this movie were to seek the truth and report it and to be accountable. Bernstein and Woodward did nothing but try and expose the truth behind the scandal, between going over their lists of people over and over again until they got some kind of trustworthy accuracy and flying across America to meet with potential sources and witnesses about the occurrence—they never gave up. Most of their sources were however, anonymous just because many of them were too scared to reveal their true identity, so they faced some kind of difficulty in figuring out how to incorporate their significant facts into their story. When it came to being accountable, both reporters tried nothing but to be a dependable source. They did their research of finding all parties that were some way or another involved with the scandal and went straight to them identifying themselves while questioning them on the matter. By them identifying themselves before questioning shows that they are indeed accountable and trustworthy, for they weren’t trying to get information under false pretenses.

Some ethical concerns were raised in other points of the film as well. For example, when Bernstein went down to Florida for his appointment with Martin Dardis, he had to sneak into the office when Dardis’ secretary wasn’t looking because she said they had to reschedule his appointment and Bernstein knew that Dardis was indeed in his office but didn’t want to meet with him. Another ethical concern was with their biggest and most reliable source of the secret informant “Deep Throat” who happened to be one of Woodward’s sources he’s had contact with in the past. His demeanor is seen to be extremely sketchy through his nickname, the way he spoke in only metaphors and riddles of telling them to “follow the money” and how/where he chose to meet up. The most important ethical concern raised was the President himself and how he chose to cover the whole situation up of taking money for his reelection campaign.

Resources

Society of Professional Journalists. (2014). SPJ code of ethics. Nashville, Tenn. Retrieved from http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

Blog Post #1-Ethics in Hollywood

As today’s society gets more advanced, so does the media. And with that, the definition of what’s ethical versus what’s not is getting more and more skewed. The question of mortality and ethical concerns have come up now more than ever in the topic of media in Hollywood. For the latter half of 2014 until now there have many films raising ethical concerns in America. Clifford Christians, a media ethicist summarizes this development saying, “In our day, morality has appeared to reach the end of the line. The social fashion is to be emancipated from moral standards and to disavow moral responsibility. We are witnessing the demise of the ethical, living, in what Nietzsche called the era beyond good and evil…Popular culture gets caught up in the technological imperative, producing the visually interesting, creating programs at times of artistic wholeness, but driven by the conditions of aesthetic space rather than ethics. (2005, p. 4)” (Plaisance, 2014).

Thomas Cooper also raises the concern about today’s ethics in the media in his article Between the Summits. Through his study, he took a deeper look into what Americans think of today’s media and how there’s a rise in concern about what’s crossing the line of being ethical or not in media outlets such as television, internet, video games, film, telephone, audio, print and photography. Saying that, “There is ample evidence to suggest that Americans at large no longer trust, if they ever did trust, the American media. Despite exceptions, both public and professionals especially distrust those who control and own such technologies. Although media excess, deception, and invasion of privacy top the list of concerns, a longer list of secondary concerns, boosted by new technologies and changing context, grows rapidly” (Cooper, 2008).

In recent speculations in the media, Hollywood and this year’s highly anticipated films that have hit the big screen are raising more ethical concerns than ever before. “Moviinterview_xlge studios are already some of the most risk-averse businesses on Earth, and that’s only becoming more and more true with every year…” (VanDerWerff, 2014). Between SONY’s The Interview, which stars two of America’s favorite raunchy comedians Dave Franco and Seth Rogan and Focus Features’ Fifty Shades of Grey which brings to the big screen crude “glorified pornography”, these two films have gotten an abundance of publicity—good and bad.

Granted, the reason for The Interview to get pulled from being shown in theaters was due to SONY getting hacked prior to its premiere, “…a movie about the assassination of a foreign leader has seemed like a bad idea for any movie studio to pursue, no matter how ridiculous the context of that film. Yes, movie studios have made films mocking foreign leaders before — like the Charlie Chaplin classic The Great Dictator, which made fun of Hitler to devastating effect — but those films did not actually depict said leaders’ assassinations. Plus, turning Kim Jong Un into a buffoon could undercut the horrible things actually happening in North Korea right now”(VanDerWerff, 2014). The message behind the film was intended to be funny, but raised many moral and ethical concerns with its motives.

jamie-dornan-dakota-johnsonAs for Fifty Shades of Grey, the film has gotten much praise from the devoted readers of the trilogy of books by E.L James. But for as much admiration it’s gotten, it’s also caused much controversy on the topic of the storyline, too. “This is a troubling fantasy in American culture, where one in five women will be raped within their lifetime, according to the CDC; where nearly 40 percent of those rapes will happen to women aged 18 to 24; and where troubling evidence of casual attitudes toward rape…As images of Ana being beaten by Christian become the new normal for what’s considered erotic, they raise questions about what it means to “consent” to sex. Clearly, consent is necessary; but is it sufficient?” (Lay, 2015). The line between today’s ethical norm in movies and what the film industry was like years prior, has diminished dramatically. To get to the point where people question their everyday lives because of movies today are portraying, makes the public more uneasy and wary of today’s media.

References

Cooper, T. (2008). Between the summits: What Americans think about media ethics. Journal of mass media ethics, 23(1), 15-21. doi:10.1080/08900520701753106

Green, E. (2015). Consent isn’t enough: the troubling sex of Fifty Shades. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/consent-isnt-enough-in-fifty-shades-of-grey/385267/

Plaisance, P.L. (2014). Media ethics: Key principles for responsible practice. Thousand     Oaks, California: SAGE Publication, Inc.

VanDerWerff, T. (2014). Sony won’t release The Interview Christmas Day after all. Retrieved from http://www.vox.com/2014/12/17/7411779/sony-hack-interview-pulled

My Philosopher-David Hume

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David Hume, a name that might not be as eminent as Aristotle or Plato but a mind that’s just as significant and astute in the world of philosophy, is known as one of the most influential thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment and one of the greatest philosophers of all time. Born on May 7th, 1711 into a relatively wealthy Scottish family in Edinburgh, Scotland, Hume was raised and educated by his widowed mother in a religious household up until the age of eleven. He studied at The University of Edinburgh for a couple of years until he decided to leave and pursue his education privately at the age of fifteen, which lead to the commencement of his calling as a philosopher. Throughout his 65 years, Hume was not only a philosopher, but also a historian and an economist, maintaining the work of predecessor philosophers like John Locke and Bishop George Berkeley, and inspiring his younger philosopher friends Adam Smith and Adam Ferguson (“David Hume”, n.d.). In Hume’s final years up until his death in 1776, he acted as a mentor to Adam Smith before deceasing; thereafter many of his unpublished dissertations were released, leaving mixed reviews to his name due to his already known “boldly skeptical approach to a range of philosophical subjects” (Fieser, n.d.).

In his first published piece at twenty-eight years old, “A Treatise of Human Nature”, Hume explores empiricism, which is a theory relating to everything we do is based upon experience. He argues, “The idea of free will was a myth. While we have strong motivations as rational agents to argue that our capacity for reason rules our passionate and emotional selves…it’s the other way around—that desire or repulsion, not reason, drive our conduct” (Plaisance, 2014).

He also argued and “offered compelling criticisms” on other notions, many of which dealing with religion and that “it is unreasonable to believe testimonies of alleged miraculous events” and epistemological issues of “space and time, cause-effect, external objects, personal identity, and free will” (Fieser, n.d.). Although Hume faithfully attended Church as a child growing up, his ideas on religion were considered to be controversial at the time.

Hume’s skepticism on certain values and beliefs is what makes him the influential philosopher we abide by today. Relating back to the world of ethics, Hume’s “primary project was to develop a science of human nature, a science stripped of dogma and based on observable fact and careful argument”, basically constructing what we know today as cognitive science. The other main thing he preached was that our morality as humans in the actions we do, are based off of our own custom or habit. “In particular his moral theory, grounded on empathy and the emotions rather than theology or logic, continues to exert a profound influence” (“David Hume”, n.d.). That basically “All human actions flow naturally from human feelings, without any interference from human reason” (Kemerling, 2011). Hume’s “argument was that knowledge could only be gained through experience”, thus why we act out of personal feelings and justifications from prior occurrences. This is extremely crucial in the world of media ethics, especially today.

For example, in the field of media ethics, there are many different perceptions of bias—especially when it comes to journalism and reporting news with subjective wording supporting a certain political view. As Hume stated what we know is from experience, it correlates to being our own personal bias towards a subject of issue. It also relates back to cognitive dissonance, and how as human beings we do not like to fit the reality of the world to ourselves, but instead we make the world seem right from our own perspectives.

References

David Hume (1711 – 1776). (n.d.) In Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved          from http://www.iep.utm.edu/hume/#H3

Famous Economists . (2015). David Hume. Retrieved from Famous Economists : http://www.famouseconomists.net/david-hume

Libertarianism.org. (n.d. ). David Hume. Retrieved from Libertarianism.org:            http://www.libertarianism.org/people/david-hume

Plaisance, P.L. (2014). Media ethics: Key principles for responsible practice. Thousand     Oaks, California: SAGE Publication, Inc.

The European Graduate School . (2012). David Hume-Biography . Retrieved from The     European Graduate School: http://www.egs.edu/library/david-hume/biography/

The University of Edinburgh. (n.d.). David Hume. Retrieved from The University of        Edinburgh: http://www.philosophy.ed.ac.uk/phil_history/david_hume.php